An Excerpt From Our New Book, "From The Pen To The Palace" by Ben Kerns
One of the more interesting things about the book is the creative "hook" Kerns uses to set up his argument.
It's a really interesting look at the Parable of the Prodigal Son. In the following excerpt from the book, Kerns touches on this unique idea. We hope you enjoy it the sample.
I believe there is a way forward to reach this generation of students who are increasingly post-Christian in their culture and worldview. And I believe the framework is found in one of the great parables of Christ. Many of us find comfort and encouragement from the Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15. We love reading about the Father’s great love. We can resonate with both the cold-hearted religiosity of the older brother, and the rebellious heart and grace experienced by the younger brother. But more and more, our students and those who are cutting their teeth in a post-Christian context do not relate to either of these brothers. There is no religiosity. There is no rebellion.
Imagine a different ending to this parable.
What if the prodigal son never came back? Imagine if the prodigal son stayed in the world of the pig pen, found a wife, and raised a family. His children may very well have heard some of the stories of life in their grandfather’s palace, or the amazing kingdom he ruled, but it would only be an echo of life in the palace.
And what if the prodigal son’s son, the grandson of the father, also decided to not try and find his way back to the palace, but also found a wife and began another generation living and working in the pen? What would the prodigal’s grandkids know of the distant kingdom ruled by their great-grandfather?
The great-grandchildren of the father would not have even an echo of this distant kingdom. They would have no concept of this other version of life, and really, no framework to understand it. They have no idea of its existence, and therefore, no way of knowing how to even get to it. And what is most heart breaking is that the mire that these kids live in would be all they know.
The prodigal son would no doubt remember some stories of the father, and his children would have experienced some sort of echo of the palace. But his grandchildren – the second generation removed from the warmth of the father’s palace – would only know the lost landscape of the pen.
The picture of the great-grandchildren of the father, who are two generations removed, only knowing the culture of the pen, and having no understanding of this distant kingdom, is the startling picture for understanding a Post-Christian context.
This book is a plea for my sisters and brothers who have grown up in the church, in Christendom, in the family of God. Sure we may have had our own prodigal moments, but if you are reading this book it is because you have found your place back into the Father’s arms and are getting after the family business.
Do you recognize that we have distant cousins, living in the pen, who know nothing of our Heavenly Father, of His provision, healing, grace, or love? Going out and telling them is no longer enough. These students are deaf to the commercials of non-invested spokesmen selling them something. No, what they need is for people to run after them, motivated by love, and invite them to come back to the father’s palace and experience for themselves the love of their Heavenly Father by being adopted into the family of God through Jesus Christ.
My prayer is that this book will serve as:
--An admission that the landscape of our context has fundamentally changed.
--A wake-up call to those of us still in the church to not forget about our distant cousins.
--A lexicon of helpful language and metaphors we can use to invite these lost cousins back into the family of God, and help them find their place.
--A guide to creating a ministry context that welcomes, assimilates, and inspires a fresh vision to carry on the family business of establishing the Kingdom of God on Earth as it is in Heaven.
To read a longer sample of Pen to Palace, and for ordering information, simply CLICK HERE.